Young People Are More Worried About Growing Up Than Ever

A study has found that young people today fear growing up more than any other generation. With so many negative headlines about how badly off we are is it any surprise?

Young People Are More Worried About Growing Up Than Ever

by Vicky Spratt |
Published on

Calling all millennials – that’s you Generation Y, and you Generation Z – this is a public service announcement. Just in case you didn’t know we’re all fucked, going to hell in a handcart etc. Then again, how could you not know? Every other day there’s a headline which confirms the sorry state of affairs or a special feature splashed across the Guardian’s homepage unpicking exactly how fucked we are which features millennial faces beaming at you alongside some snazzy graphics underneath a headline which speaks of 'the economic betrayal of a generation'.

On the one hand it’s reassuring to read such features, to see it confirmed that it’s not just you…things are actually (relatively speaking) quite hard right now for young people living in Western democracies (post global economic collapse recession, housing crisis, wages, rising tuition fees, climate change, Brexit etc. etc.).

On the other, constantly being told that things are difficult and that you don’t have the same life chances that your parents or grandparents had starts to grind you down after a while. How could it not? Is this what the apocalypse looks like I often ask myself after checking the morning news? Cue a shot of me scrolling through my iPhone, instead of looking where I’m going after having left my overpriced rented flat, whilst clutching a coffee I probably can’t afford and pretending I don’t currently owe more on my student loan than I borrowed. Am I really an adult? Is this what being a grown up is? Pinch me, is it real? Can I go home now? Snap out of it. Every generation thinks they’ve got it harder than those before them, that’s their prerogative just as it’s old people’s prerogative to say ‘everything’s gone to the dogs.’

The Jilted Generation narrative is being hammered home to us every day so is it any wonder that it’s become a self-fulfilling prophecy? If experts think we’re all fucked then we must be? It’s hardly surprising that it leaves young people wondering what the point of bothering is.

It’s also hardly surprising that now an inter-generational study published in the International Journal of Behavioural Developmenthas found that students today are more anxious about growing up than ever before.

They collected data from 1982 to 2012 and asked students to agree or disagree with sentences on the subject of ‘fears of maturity’ like ‘I wish I could return to the security of childhood’ and ‘I feel happy that I am not a child anymore.’ The results revealed a clear trend – students today are more worried about growing up than their generational forbears were at the same age.

The researchers said that it was a worrying result because the fear of growing up was associated with negative outcomes. Let’s face it, they’re right. It’s sad to think that today’s students are worried about growing up, graduating and embarking on adulthood. Sure, it isn’t always easy and it’s scary at times. Our generation has been particularly plagued by economic misfortunes, but it hasn’t all been bad.

As the researches pointed out such fears are a rational and logical response to ‘changing circumstances, including the recent global economic recession’ but we don’t want more young people coming of age in a climate of fear, constantly being told that it’s going to be harder than ever to make being an adult work.

We need start speaking about the positives of growing up again. You might not own a house in your twenties but you’ll still learn new things every day, meet people who open up your horizons, see things you never thought you’d see and do things you never thought you would do. It's true that there's a lot of uncertainty right now but the economic cloud hanging over all of us still has a silver lining. It's in our power to change the record and do something about the situation we find ourselves in.

You might also be interested in:

Study Shows That Millennials Are Full Of Self Loathing - But Why Are We So Hard On Ourselves?

5 New Milestones Millennials Can Feel Good About

We're Living In A New Class System And It's Depressing As Hell

Follow Vicky on Twitter @Victoria_Spratt

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us